OLD TOWN – For seven-year-old Ukranian Mikhail Prostatin, the motivation to compete is simple.
“I like winning first place and then show people how I win.”
Prostatin’s desire to win was on full display this May, when he and two other students in the Old Town-Orono YMCA Tae Kwon Do program punched tickets to the WCMA/TMSA Cancun Open Martial Arts Championships in January 2019. Thirteen-year-old Caitlyn Moeykens and her brother, nine-year-old Connor, also qualified for the event when they placed in sparring and form competition at the Kicks USA Nationals.
“It seemed surreal to me,” Caitlyn said Wednesday night at practice. “Yeah, I didn’t really believe it at first but now I’m excited for it.”
She, Connor and their younger sister Avery have been involved with the program for the past several months, with all of them coming together to form a bond over karate. They say they have seen benefit from competing and practicing with one another, not just on the mat, but off of it as well.
“I think it’s made us closer because we get to spend more time together, especially during the school year,” Connor said. His older sister agreed.
“It kind of builds sibling relationships that we are able to do it together,” she said.
Now, the group will aim to raise funds for their trip, which they will embark on in January of 2019. The long wait definitely gives them butterflies, but Caitlyn is grateful to have the opportunity in the first place.
“It means a lot to me that I could be able to try something like that, and even if I don’t get first place or place it all, it’s something that would be fun to try out.”
Prostatin, on the other hand, is locked in and ready to win.
“I feel good that I won,” he said. “It’s good to feel like you’re in first place.”